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Re: Updated draft of benefits of standards harmonization

From: Chuck Letourneau <cpl@starlingweb.com>
Date: Fri, 03 Oct 2003 08:00:02 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-eo@w3.org
I subscribe to a UK newsletter called the "*E-ACCESS BULLETIN."  The latest 
issue, #45 September 2003, includes an interesting and relevant article on 
the topic of standards harmonization.  This issue is not on line yet  (I 
checked this morning).  Their copyright notice indicates "Sections of the 
report may be quoted as long as they are clearly sourced as 'taken from 
e-access bulletin, a free monthly email newsletter', and our web site 
address http://www.headstar.com/eab is also cited."  So, that being done, 
here is the article:

[begin clip]


The RNIB's high-profile 'See it Right' web accessibility audit scheme, 
which launched in February 2002, does not match new government requirements 
for local council web sites, E-Access Bulletin has learned.

So far four local authorities - Kensington and Chelsea, Thurrock, Welwyn 
Hatfield and Wrexham councils - have paid to receive See it Right 
accreditation (http://fastlink.headstar.com/rnib3) although Welwyn Hatfield 
council covered their costs through sponsorship.

The See It Right scheme is based on a series of 'checkpoints' based on 
guidelines published by the global Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI - 
http://www.w3.org/WAI - see also issue 31, July 2003 and issue 38, February 

For web sites to pass the audit and receive the See It Right logo, they
need to fully comply with WAI level 'A' guidelines, but only partially with 
the higher 'AA' and 'AAA' standards.

The problem for councils is that the government-required standards they 
must meet in their Implementing E-Government (IEG) statements, which 
declare whether electronic public service targets are being met, were 
raised last July to a minimum of full compliance with WAI level 'AA'.

The discrepancy is causing confusion among councils currently waiting to 
join the RNIB audit scheme such as Dorset County Council. Martin Bottomley, 
communications manager at Dorset, is unsure whether his authority may incur 
government funding penalties by obtaining an audit. "All of a sudden the 
goal posts have been moved," he told E-Access Bulletin. His team will make 
a final decision on 16 October.

The RNIB does offer a service where they will audit a site against any 
chosen accessibility guidelines such as WAI AA, although the process takes 
longer and costs more than See it Right.

However, RNIB web accessibility best practice officer Lis Angle said the 
aspects of WAI 'AA' compliance that are excluded by the See it Right audit 
are "very difficult to achieve." She said the RNIB did not have plans to 
re-examine their audit guidelines. "Government sites are a small proportion 
of sites we audit. We're really happy with what we have in our 
requirements. We think we've covered everything. We are keeping our 
standards as they are".

[ end clip ]

At 2003-10-03 00:11, you wrote:

>For our 3 October teleconference, here is an updated draft of the benefits 
>of standards harmonization document for discussion:
>         Why Standards Harmonization is Essential to Web Accessibility
>         http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/Drafts/standard-harmon.html
>         http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/Drafts/standard-harmon-changelog.html
>- Judy
>Judy Brewer    +1.617.258.9741    http://www.w3.org/WAI
>Director, Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
>MIT/LCS Room NE43-355, 200 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA,  02139,  USA
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Received on Friday, 3 October 2003 08:01:26 UTC

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